I presume the idea is to allow all the local ragamuffins the opportunity to scope out the neighbourhood and work out where the best candy haul is to be found. It's an Oregon State Law that all children must collect their own weight in candy on Halloween, and with the average plot at least thrice as wide as in London, there's a lot of walking ahead of them. There's a danger they might get too much exercise and end up thinner than they started.
A few days ago Beth and I visited a huge temporary Halloween store to check out their wares. Halloween in the US is really just an excuse to dress up, for both children and adults, and the costumes range from traditional ghosts, witches and wizards, vampires and werewolves to pirates, doctors & nurses, Policemen and Firemen (and women), Romans and Egyptians, superheroes, military uniforms, and ninjas. There are bizarre options like a hamburger, cup and ball toy, cellphone, or beer keg. Pretty much anything goes, even clowns, which are frankly too scary and likely to give the kids nightmares.The wierdness is that most of the ladies' costumes had a distinctly sexy vibe, with short skirts and plunging necklines. Moreover this wasn't restricted to an "adult" age range, but started appearing in the teenagers and tweens costumes. If you're a girl and over 7 you can start dressing in a provocative manner.
These store bought costumes aren't cheap. They start around $30, but that's just for the basics. If, say, your child wants to be a pirate, you'll need to add an eyepatch, hook hand, hat or headscarf, boots, maybe a flintlock pistol and cutlass. A knight will still need a sword and shield. I thought briefly about being a werewolf, which would just require a mask for face and hairy hands, with otherwise normal clothing. I might still go for that, as it's about the simplest and cheapest option I could find.
There are also many ways to decorate a house and lawn, with spiderwebs and fake spiders, plastic gravestones, dry ice machines, ghosts, corpse and zombie figures, bones, witches' cauldrons and much more. It would be easy to spend several hundred dollars.
I've been entertaining ideas since our arrival of a massive maze set up in the garage and driveway, with spiderwebs, spooky noises and all the works, through which
In the end, and I'm sure much to the disgust of the store owner, we bought one item for $7 which will decorate the house, and to which we will be adding some of our own touches. We can't set it up until near the actual day as it'll block the garage. We think it's innovative but understated.
My pumpkin patch, by the way, is in flower, but it's going to be far too late for any useable pumpkins.
Nestled in the midst of the stalks and leaves is one proto-pumpkin the size of a small egg. It has a month to grow enough to be made into a jack-o-lantern, probably the size of a big egg.